Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Identity Politics Applied To Outer Space

     Sure, why not?  Ever since the film Elysium made the heavy-handed point that the rich were going to head off to clean, well-planned sybaritic lives Innnnn Spaaace and leave the rest of us losers starving on this polluted, used-up ball of mud, it's been taken as a given in some circles.

     Here's why not: there's no air, water,* bacon, broccoli, caviar, bread, carpet, chairs, iPads, condoms, Sansabelt slacks, and so on and on and on.  There are no functioning ecosystems in space and to date, nobody's built one.  ISS recycles quite a lot of water and processes some air, but everything that's up there was brought up there.  Figuring out how to establish an even minimally-closed environment will be a long, slow process and people will die learning.  I doubt any of them will be millionaires.

     What's the use of being the richest man in the Solar system in a space suit at the end of a long supply chain?  Sitting on the Moon, twiddling one's silent-film-villain mustache and sneering down at the planet all your stuff has to be shipped up from?

     Not gonna happen.  About the time you can transport a Caribbean island paradise to the Moon, intact and with a good big hunk of the surrounding sea and all its life, maybe you'll start to see a plutocrat or two in space.  Maybe.

     It's not a refuge for the rich.  It might keep the human race from getting stomped flat by planetary disaster -- but we're going to need viable off-Earth settlements, and that's at least a century away.  It'll be even longer before the livin' is at all easy.
* There's ice.  Given ice, sunlight and a whole lot of money and time, you can get most anything else -- eventually.  But it takes hands.  Working hands.  With all due respect to the accomplishments of Mr. Bezos and Mr. Musk, it's not going to be their hands, it's going to be a bunch of people working for wages.


Jess said...

If I had to guess, I'd guess space in the future will be like the offshore oil field. The work will be dangerous, the pay good, and accidents almost certainly fatal. Such conditions don't attract those wanting a life of leisure.

JayNola said...

A friend of mine made some off hand comment about rich people in space. I told him, first normal people in space will be roughnecks, oil field crew guys, miners, etc. They might be the well educated ones but it sure isn't going to be a bunch of hoi polloi.

Joseph said...

Leftist can detect nine out of every five actual examples of racism.

Eck! said...

Personally I think the series Expanse hit the nail... Mot will be short lived, scarred, and work to exist.